Using Long-Tail Keywords To Optimize Your Blog And Make Google Happy
The act of blogging in and of itself is a way to optimize your site for better search rankings as the major search engines, especially the big one – Google – likes when a site has the answer to its users queries in the form of a well-written blog.
However, simply writing a well-structured blog does not ensure that it will rank well for specific keywords. In order for that to happen, there are a number of SEO practices that will help optimize each of your blog posts in order to increases their chances of showing up on the first page of the search engines.
The big question is, of course, what are those practices? Read on!
Today’s SEO Tactics
Anyone who has ever tried to optimize their blog for high Google ranking is well aware of the tricky and ever-changing Google algorithm. While many in the past have tried to trick Google into ranking their blog posts, the search engine giant seems to always come up with something new to kick the “fakers” out of their top spot.
Google still and will always cherish blog posts that are highly relevant to what their users are searching for, and therefore today’s SEO practices must also include the intent of being relevant in order to keep Google happy.
What used to work back in the day may not necessarily work today and that is why it is important to keep up with modern best SEO practices.
One such SEO practice which many bloggers have been having success in the past couple of years is long-tail keywords. The remainder of this article focuses on using long-tail keywords to help optimize your blog for Google.
Using Long-Tail Keywords In 2018
1: Long-Tail Keywords
Never try to “stuff” keywords into your blog for the sake of optimizing them – Google will actually penalize your site for doing this. Instead, use long-tail keywords that are relevant to what your intended reader is looking for.
Long-tail keywords are longer than regular generic keywords which are usually used to drive traffic from a mass audience. Long-Tail Keywords contain more than two words which pertain to a specific niche or demographic and so are used to hone in on a targeted audience.
It is best to focus on one, or at the most, two long-tail keywords that are highly relevant to the information you are providing with your post. Remember, the purpose of the post is to provide your reader with the information or the answer to their question for the long-tail keyword they typed into Google.
2: Keyword Placement
After you have chosen your long-tail keyword(s), you should place them in key areas of your blog so that Google can understand that your blog pertains to the specific long-tail keywords you have chosen.
In the past, Google has shown favor for blog posts which include long-tail keywords in the URL, meta description, title tag, and headers & body of the text.
URL – Include the main long-tail keyword next to your site’s name. For example. If your site is called joesdogtraining.com and your blog post is about potty training for German Shepherds, then your post URL should read – joesdogtraining.com/potty-training-for-german-shepards.
Meta Description: Your meta description appears under your URL on the search engine page and details what your blog post is all about. It is a perfect place to include one or two of your long-tail keywords in order to optimize your blog.
A key point here is to make sure that you are not simply including your long-tail keyword just for SEO purposes but mainly to help the reader figure out what your post is all about. This will also help with your search engine click-through rate, another important factor in appeasing Google’s algorithm.
Title Tag: The title of your blog post is the first impression your potential reader will have of your post, which is why it should be highly relevant to the long-tail keyword they entered. The title, therefore, is a perfect place to use your main long-tail keyword in order to tell the reader and Google that this post has what they are looking for.
***Be sure to limit your title to 60 characters, as this is what Google recommends – more like allows – these days.
Headers & Body: The primary objective of writing your post is to inform your readers and not necessarily to show up first on Google. Of course, using long-tail keywords within your post will only help your reader and Google to better ascertain what it is all about.
Never include your long-tail keywords at the expense of relevancy and flow. They should appear naturally within the title and body of your posts, even if they only appear once. It is not a good idea to include them more than twice unless you have a really long blog post and it makes sense to include them more frequently.
3: Include Your Long-tail Keyword(s) In Your Images’ Alt Text
Since search engines can not see an image the way humans can, an images’ alt text lets them know what your image refers to. Placing your long-tail keyword as your image alt text is just another way in which to include it in your blog post without running the risk of “keyword stuffing”
Again, your long-tail keyword should be relevant to the image, which in turn should be relevant to the topic you are writing about. This creates a better user-experience as it ties in the entire post into one harmonious loop.
Besides making your blog posts more appealing to readers, an image can actually help a post rank higher than other similar posts with no images at all. Google regards images as a user-friendly method to attract visitors, and therefore it would be in your best interest to utilize this method to further optimize your posts.
Ultimately, if your visitors find your content extremely relevant to the long-tail keyword they typed into the search engine, they will be happy, and If they are happy you can be sure that Google will be happy with your content and reward it with better search results.